Lane Lambert aims to regain the islanders’ former identity

Lane Lambert aims to regain the islanders’ former identity

The appointment of Lane Lambert as the Islanders’ head coach was more about reclaiming the team’s identity than forging a new one.

His way of doing this began to become clear on Thursday, when Lambert officially led practice for the first time during training camp.

“The new voice is simply my voice,” said Lambert, who was Barry Trotz’s top assistant last season, who was fired in May after the Islanders missed the playoffs. “It’s different in the way I communicate and the way I speak. There’s nothing wrong with the old voice in terms of what he’s done, but it’s certainly different for me now. I’m a demanding and passionate guy, actually. And the players know that and they respect that and I respect them.”

The Islanders aren’t expected to drastically change the way they play Lambert, but not everything will be the same.

Islanders head coach Lane Lambert attends practice during training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center in Eisenhower Park on September 22, 2022 in East Meadow, New York.
Islanders coach Lane Lambert participates in practice during training at the Northwell Health Ice Center.
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“I think just in a couple of meetings and the first day, they really want us to be aggressive in all three areas of the zone,” defender Noah Dobson told The Post. “Especially for the D-men, a big emphasis is our gaps, getting on the ice and being aggressive.”

This emphasis is a departure from how the Islanders played last season, when they prioritized defensive structure over contributing to rush.

Aggressive, apparently, was a buzzword in the locker room.

“He talked about being more aggressive, wanting to be threatening all the time,” said center Mathew Barzal. “Trying to make the D a little more active, just skating more.”

As for Lambert’s communication style, players find him direct and willing to hold them accountable. This, they believe, should help them regain the momentum that eluded them amid a disastrous 2021-22.

“I think in the end [of the season], we were going back to it. We were going back to being a tough team to play against,” center Jean-Gabriel Pageau told The Post. “And I think that’s what we want to come back to.”

Defender Bode Wilde, who was exiled to Sweden last year after refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19, will not attend training camp, according to the team. The Islanders are uncovering a mission for Wilde this season.

The Islanders will lose their 2023 third-round pick to the Coyotes, who conditionally traded in the deal with Andrew Ladd. Ladd reportedly failed his physical and will go to IR.

LW Otto Koivula, D Isaiah George and LW Collin Adams did not skate on Thursday with undisclosed injuries. Lambert said they will be evaluated on Friday.

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